Bringing Home A Stray:
Natasha approaches the young man warily. He’s thin and short in a way that almost makes him look vulnerable. His shirt was once white, but is now a filthy gray, and his yellow swim trunks are fraying at the sides and on the bottoms. He has a dirt mark on his forehead and left cheek. He’s also holding a pipe high in his left hand and a gun in his right hand.
“Really, really wish I had some of Theo’s skills right now,” he mutters as he steps towards her and demands quickly, in five different languages, that she back off and leave him alone.
Natasha stops, tilts her head and takes him in again, slowly. He stands there quaking but obviously determined.
“You’ve watched too many movies,” she chastises, “If you’re going to hold that gun steady you need to use both hands.”
The pipe falls to the floor and he’s suddenly holding the gun correctly.
“That’s better,” Natasha praises, “Where’s Quicksilver?”
“Quick-who?” he asks, “Do you mean that overly speeding arrogant guy who was all ‘I must go capture the bad guys’ and left us all to fend for ourselves?”
“That sounds like him.”
“Yeah, he left, not all the bad guys were gone.”
“Gone too,” the guy says, grip tightening on the gun.
Natasha nods to a nearby desk, “Then who’s over there breathing shallowly?”
“I don’t know you,” he points out.
Natasha briefly considers which name to give him, code or cover, but the frustration on his face, the protective stance has her giving him the truth, “Natasha Romanova.”
“Hello Luan, can I have Agent Sitwell back now?”
“What do you plan to do with him?” Luan’s asks, eyes narrowing.
Hawkeye’s voice is suddenly there in her communicator, “Found the kids hidden in the air ducts.”
Natasha smirks, of course Clint did. Luan swallows hard and moves away from the desk slowly, left leg dragging slightly.
“Faking,” Natasha calls.
Luan pauses, “Am I?”
“You’re not a mother bird and you were putting all your weight on that foot a moment ago,” she points out.
“Okay, you’re officially scary,” Luan tells her, “Which makes me very suspicious seeing as this was a whole undercover does who knows what to some innocent children kinda thing. Not sure why they kidnapped me. I’m not sure I care about the why, but the kids are getting out of this alive. Sitwell too if I can manage it.”
“I’m here to help,” Natasha offers.
“How do I know that?” Luan points out.
Now would be a really great time for Sitwell to wake up or Coulson to take over. Sitwell can confirm who she is and people just trust Coulson. She can usually get them to trust her too, but Luan has already decided she’s dangerous.
“We’re out,” Hawkeye tells her.
“He found eight of the thirteen children,” Coulson informs her.
"Baker's dozen, got it," Natasha taps her ear piece, before she asks Luan “How many children were here?”
Luan takes another slow dragging footstep away from the desk.
“How many survived?” she pushes.
Natasha puts up her hands, shows that she has no weapons in them.
“Right,” Luan glares, “Just because they’re not in your hands don’t mean they’re not there.”
“Scary,” Luan counters.
“And you totally could’ve just disarmed me when I glanced at the moaning guy behind the desk, couldn’t you?” Luan asks.
“I want to bring you in,” Natasha tells him, “You won’t let me if I disarm you and then drag you to Coulson.”
“Coulson?” Luan asks.
“Sitwell’s colleague,” she explains.
Luan shifts uncomfortably on his feet.
“Let’s end this now. You put the gun down. I get my teammates and you help us get the children out,” she offers.
“Never heard of…Oh! SHIELD as in really long name and…is Nick Fury your boss?”
“Yes, he is.”
“What’s he look like then?” Luan demands.
“Really intimidating with the whole coat swishy thing?” Luan finishes.
Natasha raises an eyebrow.
“I told him it’s a bit cliché, but I think he likes it,” Luan babbles.
“How do you know Fury?”
“I don’t know him! I only met the guy twice and it was scary both times. Man owes me money, but do you see me demanding it? He’s got the whole big scary coat and eye-patch thing going for him!” Luan stresses.
“This isn’t working,” Natasha informs him dryly, “Put the gun down and let me get Sitwell some medical attention.”
A sudden breeze is the only indication that Natasha gets that Quicksilver is running past her. Suddenly Luan is being shoved into a corner as he’s simultaneously disarmed. Pietro hands the gun over to her with a look of distaste.
“Hey,” Sitwell croaks in protest, “I gave that to him.”
“I had the situation under control,” Natasha glares.
“And I just delivered the villains, disarmed the guy holding Sitwell hostage and…” Pietro starts.
“I wasn’t holding him hostage!” Luan protests.
“Tell that to the authorities,” Pietro snaps.
“Unbelievable!” Luan shouts back, “This is officially the worst day of worst days ever! First I get kidnapped, then the guy that supposedly rescuing us runs off, leaving me with his bleeding partner and a bunch of scared children! Then I have to hid them and do some first aid with near to no supplies and while I’m trying to determine if giant female Theo over there is friend or foe your not so helpful butt shows up again!”
Pietro gives her a calculating look.
“Yes, you’ll get in trouble if you punch him,” Natasha answers, before she clarifies, “With me.”
“You?” Pietro questions.
“I saw him first,” Natasha decides.
“You left,” Natasha points out, “He was up for grabs.”
For a moment she doesn’t think she got the phrasing right, but then Pietro gaps at her. He points at Luan, “You want to bring him with us?”
“Medical will need to see him regardless, but I’m going to give him to Coulson first.”
Pietro’s eyes narrow, then he turns to regard Luan, he turns back to Natasha.
“We can continue this later,” Sitwell decides.
Pietro shrugs and Natasha grabs his shoulder to keep him from running off.
“I’m going to help,” Pietro protests.
“The children, where are they?” Natasha demands.
Luan stands up slowly and leans into corner of the room Pietro threw him into as he answers, “Most of them were in the air duct. One of them is with Sitwell, two are in that cabinet and the other two are hidden in the bathroom.”
Natasha nods and uses her communicator to report her situation to Coulson, who sends Hawkeye and medics into help locate the rest of the children. Once she’s sure that Sitwell is taken care of, the children are all located and that Luan can walk she brings Luan to Coulson.
Coulson looks Luan over, “Bringing me strays Tasha?”
“Figure it was my turn,” she answers.
“Hey,” Luan starts to protests, but calms when Coulson pulls a blanket out of the nearest van and drapes it over his shoulders. Luan pulls the blanket close.
“I thought Linguistics wanted new blood,” she continues.
“Do I get a say in this?” Luan asks.
“You’ll say yes,” Coulson tells him.
Luan tightens his hold on his blanket as he counters with, “Nick Fury scary. Girl who’s super secret name I don’t know scary. Quicksilver rude. Hawkeye…”
Luan frowns. Natasha and Coulson wait.
“Well I didn’t get to spend any time with him so I don’t have an opinion yet but I’m sure he’s kinda scary too,” Luan concludes.
“Nah,” Clint protests, “I’m actually kinda easy going.”
Luan jumps and spins around, “I’m not Theo stop doing that!”
“Who’s Theo?” Clint asks.
“My brother,” Luan answers as he lets Natasha bundle him into Coulson’s van. She climbs in after him, letting Clint take the front seat. Coulson does one last quick check-in with everyone before climbing into the driver’s seat.
“So this is happening,” Luan frowns.
“Totally worth your while,” Clint grins.
“Black Widow,” Natasha offers.
“Black Widow?” Luan asks, doubt on his face.
“My super secret name,” she teases.
Luan nods, “It suits you. Do I get a scary name too?”
“You’re not scary enough,” she tells him.
“Coulson!” Luan protests.
“No,” Coulson tells him.
“But…but…” Luan starts.
“No,” Coulson reiterates.
Luan sinks back into his seat, “This is the weirdest day ever. Scratch that, this is the weirdest job interview ever.”